Unstoppable Improvement Empowered employees make major differences. ByJohn S. McClenahenCompaq's Americas' Software Manufacturing & Distribution, Nashua, N.H.At a glance
Web Exclusive Best Practices Compaq's America's Software Manufacturing & Distribution, maker of computer software kits. By John S. McClenahen Benchmarking contact: Deb Corbiel, plant administration support.
[email protected], 603/884-3324
Managing for Results Managing for Results (MFR) 2000, the latest iteration of Americas' Software Manufacturing's team-based, action-oriented performance-management program, seeks to align strategy, goals, and structure with continuous-improvement and problem-solving activities. MFR 2000 starts and ends with customers, whether they are other Compaq Computer Corp. units, or customers outside Compaq. MFR assumes that everyone's work can be seen as a process and that every process can be defined, measured, and continuously improved. Critical to the success of the program are the respect accorded to employees for their knowledge and creativity and the power given to teams to analyze problems, set stretch goals, make decisions, implement changes, and measure results.
QFlex The operating objective of this human-resources-management program is to have the right people in the right place at the right time all of the time. Call it "just-in-time" staffing. Key to the program's success is a contingent of flexible and trained part-time workers, now numbering about 187 but likely to be expanded to about 225 by year-end. For ASM, QFlex provides a reliable, highly adaptable, and cost-efficient means of meeting ever-changing and demanding customer requirements. The workers -- some of whom are full-time firefighters, teachers, and college students -- gain industry experience and training while earning competitive pay.
ASM University In the simplest terms, ASM University is an employee-development program. In grander terms, it's a tool for the creation and management of knowledge capital within the organization. Learning modules are aligned with both current and future business needs. Courses are offered at four different levels (baseline, advanced, expert, and mastery) and include such titles as Basic Math Skills, FastJIT/Kaizen Blitz, Change Management, and Manufacturing Planning & Control. At ASM, courses are developed and delivered using internal resources whenever possible and practical. ASM maintains an "e-Zone," a research and study space where PCs are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Demand-Driven Execution The people of ASM visualize the organization as a continuous flow of work toward its customers. Cross-trained employees tend to describe themselves more in terms of what they're doing than in terms of a rigidly defined function. They focus on time: faster response times for customers; time as the best measure of day-to-day performance; and on cutting time to cut waste. ASM aims to be a queueless organization.
Root-Cause Analysis Problem analysis and resolution focuses on root causes, not symptoms in the MFR program. What's more, employees directly confront problems and don't defer action. People meet face-to-face across the organization to come up with the solutions they need to solve problems. You don't hear people at ASM saying, "That's not my problem."
Goal Setting ASM sets simple, easy-to-understand, overarching goals. Currently there are four: to have delighted customers, to have a highly skilled and motivated workforce, to maximize shareholder returns, and to have best-in-class operations.
- 99.5% on-time shipment rate.
- 99.99% absolute inventory accuracy rate.
- Less than 1% attrition rate.
- 95% of production workers participate in natural, self-directed work teams.
- Machine uptime 99.87%.